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I was surprised to discovered that I had not seen this movie before. After all, it was was an Al Jolson starring vehicle in which he is supported by an immense number of supporting comedians and singers -- Edward Everett Horton, Alan Jenkins, Cab Calloway, the Yacht Club Boys acting like the Ritz Brothers -- and an Arlen-Harburg score. Clearly this was a bet-the-house movie. It was Jolson's last under his contract.
Al Jolson plays himself, an immensely popular performer who is beloved by all who know him... well, I suppose he had script control. When his fiancee and his financial advisor run off with all the unpaid taxes for the last five years, Al has to break the kitty to pay off the IRS, his voice fails and he has to take a vacation in Maine, where he meets charming would-be playwright Beverly Roberts, and her niece, Sybil Jason. Everyone falls in love with Al and Al phonies up an acceptance of her play with a $500 check. When she finds out he did it, she's mad.
The songwriters were clearly tasked with coming up with "Al Jolson numbers" and they had a limited success. The only one familiar to me was "I Love to Sing-a," which is repeated several times with added verses. I don't think anyone covered this one except Looney Tunes, which is where I know it from.
If this movie were all we knew of Jolson, it would be a bloated and egotistical project. What we know of Jolson justifies the egotism, but not the bloat.
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